New minibus for HammondCare Darlinghurst as good as a Rolls Royce

For the formerly homeless or nearly homeless residents of HammondCare Darlinghurst, their brand-new minibus is like having a Rolls Royce. A Rolls Roy, to be precise.

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird with HammondCare Darlinghurst residents Thomas Connah, Ray Murton and Jani Surya Suganda The $84,000 minibus, purchased with funds raised by the HammondCare Foundation, has been named The Rolls Roy in memory of HammondCare Darlinghurst’s former resident and self-appointed concierge, Roy Allen.

Roy, who passed away in July last year aged 80, was the first permanent resident of HammondCare Darlinghurst, a 42-bed residential care home for older people who are experiencing homelessness or are risk of homelessness, opened in early 2020.

HammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird handed over the keys of new 10-seater Toyota Hiace Commuter to the Darlinghurst residents and care staff in a short ceremony yesterday. He paid tribute to Roy as he announced the vehicle will carry the numberplate 'Roy 1'.

“We had this wonderful resident who used to be with us – his name was Roy,” Mr Baird said. “He had this vision that he would love for the residents here to go out on trips, maybe to the beach, maybe to the mountains and enjoy life beyond Darlinghurst. He said, ‘We need a bus – we have to get a bus!’

“So, this inspired us. There is a great opportunity here to create dreams and fun times with each other and the team.”

According to Darlinghurst Residential Manager Chantel Evans, Roy’s role as self-appointed concierge played an important role in making newcomers feel welcome. It contributed to a welcoming culture that continues to this day.

The late Roy Allen, first permanent resident HammondCare Darlingurst

“Roy had an insatiable passion for life. He regularly championed the value of a dedicated bus to bring residents together and take them on excursions to places of interest,” she said. “His enthusiasm was contagious, inspiring wide interest and regular weekly chatter about itineraries and what the pleasures of venturing outside might look like.”

HammondCare General Manager Residential Care Michael Cooney acknowledged the HammondCare Foundation and its donors who funded the minibus purchase.

Mr Cooney said donors have always been required to assist HammondCare with its mission to improve the quality of life for people in need.

In the 1930s, donors helped the then Hammond’s Pioneer Homes create a housing estate for destitute families at Hammondville. And donors helped with the $25 million construction cost of Darlinghurst.

“It was a 10-year journey to build this gorgeous, aged care home. This was done on the back of generous donors,” he said. “Now, we are getting these buses with the support of donors and the Foundation. It’s incredible."

Resident Jani Surya Suganda, who has called HammondCare Darlinghurst home since its early days, is excited at the prospect of outings in The Rolls Roy. “I want to go to Coogee Beach, maybe Bondi Beach. Maybe go up to Palm Beach and get some fish and chips there – there is a good fish and chip shop there."

The HammondCare Foundation has launched a new fundraising appeal for Darlinghurst to further help meet the unique medical, spiritual, physical and mental health needs of its residents. 

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